He did it! With 12 summits of Platteklip Gorge during Saturday’s K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge, K-Way athlete Andre Calitz is the undisputed master of Platteklip Gorge.
The heavy cloud cover and cool conditions set the stage for Calitz’s record attempt. He cracked the first 760-metre summit in only 35 minutes 36 seconds and was on to his third lap before most of Cape Town had woken up. With seven laps completed within six-and-a-half hours, he still had over five hours to fit in the five remaining summits to achieve his goal.
“Just the idea of having to climb up so many times is enough to make you tired from the start,” says Calitz. “But you just put one leg in front of the other and keep slogging. Luckily the climbs get sort of blurry after a while!”
“The last lap was not the hardest one. Lap six was hard as I was only half way and Lap 11 was tough as I did not eat enough before the lap, so I bonked a bit,” he explains.
Participants run up Platteklip Gorge and they take the Cable Car down; but there’s no specific schedule for the Cable Car so timing is more luck than planning and for a runner aiming to set records, like Calitz, chunks of time can be lost.
“I had no specific plan with regards to the Cable Cars and I actually timed most of them quite badly this year,” he says.
Last year Calitz got very cold coming down in the Cable Car. “I learned a hard lesson last year so this year I had a K-Way jacket in each car. I also stretched on the way down to keep warm,” he explains.
Although the K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge has a dedicated following with many repeat entrants, it is also attracting new interest.
“This year more women entered than usual, a record number of first timers took part and more than ten people participated for the third time,” says Adam Pike, the organiser of this event.
As a fundraising event, entrants encourage friends and family members to sponsor summits.
“Runner Colin Green raised a record amount of R41,200,” says Pike. When added to the other donations the total funds collected from this event total over R450,000. This money will be handed over to Sinenjongo High School, the event’s beneficiary.
A second-time entrant, race day offered many highlights for Calitz.
“Seeing my wife there with my dog (Monty), running a lap with him and having family, friends and sponsors there to support me was incredible. It’s so great seeing the blue and orange race tees when you climb and cheering each other on. There is a real camaraderie in this race, which is very special.”
Calitz commends the event for its superb organisation – “one of the best organised of the year” – and the festive atmosphere from the registration evening at the Cape Union Mart Adventure Centre to the non-stop support throughout race day.
“The finish in the cable car station was immense; one of the highlights of my career for sure,” he adds. “Special thanks to my sponsors – K-Way, Vivobarefoot, GU Energy SA and Liberty Medical Scheme – for assisting me in undertaking this crazy endeavour!”
Outdoor brand K-Way is both a sponsor of this event and of Calitz.
“AJ’s been running with K-Way for just over a year now and he just gets better and better,” says Nick Bennett, marketing manager of K-Way.
“His 12 ascents of Platteklip Gorge in a single day is a mindboggling feat… He’s an incredible ambassador for the K-Way brand and trail running in general. It has been Team K-Way’s pleasure to support AJ and, indeed, the K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge too.”
As of this year Calitz is running full time, an occupation made possible by the unwavering support of his sponsors. Able to focus on training and race preparation, you can be sure to see more magical runs from this talented and hard-working athlete.
· Event: K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge
· Record: 12 summits, set by Andre Calitz in 2013 (Sat, 6 April 2013)
· Route: From the lower cable station, along Tafelberg road, up Platteklip Gorge and across the table to the upper cable station. Runners get a free lift down in the cable car and then they start again. The distance is 5.5km with 760m of climbing for each lap. This will take most runners approximately 90 minutes on average.
· Website: www.charitychallenge.co.za